CLEVELAND – Draymond Green got a technical foul or two. Richard Jefferson got in the face of an again-squatting Stephen Curry. Dahntay Jones received a tech for talking smack to Kevin Durant from the bench. LeBron James and Durant jawed at each other. Zaza Pachulia punched Iman Shumpert in the nuts.
And that was just during stoppages.
The Cavaliers beat the Warriors, 137-116, in an action-packed Game 4 Friday to trim Golden State’s NBA Finals lead to 3-1.
One year after becoming the first team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals, is Cleveland on its way to becoming the first team to overcome a 3-0 deficit in any NBA series? We’ll learn more in Game 5 Monday in Oakland.
For now, the Cavaliers should be content to prolong the series, ruin what could have been the first perfect postseason in NBA history and put their own names in the record book.
The Cavs scored 49 points in the first quarter (a Finals record for any quarter) and 86 points in the first half (a playoff record for a first half in at least the shot-clock era). They made 24-of-45 3-pointers (53%), making Finals records set just four days ago already seem quaint. Their 137 total points were the most in a Finals game since 1987.
Behind it all was sound execution from a team that dared try to just outscore the Warriors in an offensive duel – and won.
Kevin Love (23 points, five rebounds and two steals) looked like a true third star and continued to play actively.
Tristan Thompson (10 rebounds and five assists), with Kardashians in the house, finally showed up.
The Warriors, now 15-1 in the playoffs, failed to clinch the first perfect postseason in NBA history. What could have been the first line in their case as the greatest team of all-time is now null. They won’t get to re-coat the visiting locker room here in champagne smell.
Golden State is still in the driver’s seat, but the Cavs gave the 2017 postseason one more thrilling night and a reason to wonder: Can they do it again?